Taylor Mac: Whitman in the Woods.

S2021 E9 | FULL EPISODE

Whitman in the Woods: Deconstructions

Taylor Mac, ALL ARTS artist in residence, deconstructs the Walt Whitman poems performed in “Whitman in the Woods.” The deconstructions demonstrate Taylor Mac’s unique insights into the works and love of wordplay.

AIRED: May 02, 2021 | 0:02:30
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TRANSCRIPT

Taylor: You can watch blow jobs or you can see poetry,

but this poetry is kind of like getting a blow job.

"I am for those who believe in loose delights."

"I share the midnight orgies of young men."

Orgies of young men.

The scholar will tell you that Whitman said orgies meant party.

Because party meant orgy back then.

-No, it meant orgy! -Orgy.

No, it meant party.

Yes, but what happens at a party?

A little smoky, smoky, a little drinky, drinky,

And pretty soon...

Taylor: You can watch blow jobs or you can see poetry,

At least, that's my experience.

[ Cows moo ]

Taylor: You can watch blow jobs or you can see poetry,

Taylor: You can watch blow jobs or you can see poetry,

"When I wander'd alone over the beach, and undressing bathed..."

You've got to think of all women,

the original bear wandering down the beach naked.

And then, this is my favorite line,

"laughing with the cool water"

not, not at the cool water or in the cool water,

laughingwith the cool water and saw the sun rise."

"And when I thought of how my dear friend," that's code.

"And I thought, how my dear friend

my lover," that's not code.

"When I thought how my dear friend

my lover was on his way coming, then I was happy."

"When I wander'd alone over the beach, and undressing bathed..."

[ Animal calls ]

"When I wander'd alone over the beach, and undressing bathed..."

"When I wander'd alone over the beach, and undressing bathed..."

"Through me the afflatus surging and surging."

That's a great word "Afflatus." It means "the creative impulse."

Use it. Make it part of your regular speaking vocabulary.

"Through me the afflatus surging and surging."

"Whatever goes to the tilth of me it shall be you!"

That means whatever goes to the base of me

or whatever gives me the best blow job

or whatever goes to the heart of me, too,

it shall be you, "You, my rich blood!

Your milky stream pale strippings away of my life."

There are so many different ways to say semen

in a Walt Whitman poem.

"Root of wash'd sweet-flag! Timorous pond-snipe!

Nest of the guarded duplicate eggs!"

I mean really? Walt Whitman.

[ Birds chirping ]

"Through me the afflatus surging and surging."

[ Cow moos ]

[ Birds chirping ]

"Through me the afflatus surging and surging."

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